In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 9, 2006 / 15 Menachem-Av, 5766

How to gag a president

By Paul Greenberg

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Other presidents of the United States would on occasion attach statements to their signatures when signing a bill into law; this one has made it a regular habit.

At last count, the Hon. George W. Bush had issued hundreds of such statements to explain his interpretation of the law he was approving at the time — or to express his reservations about it. The reservations usually have to do with maintaining the chief executive's constitutional authority, especially when it comes to matters of national security.

There's plenty of precedent for such statements. As far back as 1830, Andrew Jackson — a patron saint of the Democratic Party — would get a mite tetchy when he felt congressional Whigs were usurping his presidential authority under the Constitution, and would say so.

Wartime tends to heighten such concerns on the part of the executive branch. Especially in a war like this one, which began with a devastating attack on the home front, and in which the enemy remains both nebulous and dangerous.

Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is threatening to have Congress sue the president if he keeps issuing such statements. But on what grounds? Even a president of the United States has a right to free speech. Or doesn't the First Amendment apply to presidents of the United States?

Predictably enough, the American Bar Association sounds peeved, too. Where this president is concerned, it usually does. The ABA was thoroughly politicized some time ago. By now it can be counted on to regularly oppose his politics, judicial nominees, and even his right to make a statement, at least if he attaches it to a bill he's just signed into law.

According to Michael Greco, the bar association's current president, such a statement "hamstrings Congress because Congress cannot respond to a signing statement."

Really? What's stopping it? Instead of suing the president, why doesn't Sen. Specter just issue a statement of his own in rebuttal?

That way, should there be a question about what Congress meant by passing a particular law, or whether the president is doing enough to enforce it, the judiciary can take all of that into consideration if and when such a dispute reaches the courts, as it usually does. (This is called determining intent.)

In any event, whatever statement the president issues on signing a law, he is still obliged under the Constitution "to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed . . . ." His stating his opinion of the law doesn't relieve him of that duty.

It's hard to see why Sen. Specter is getting so exercised. Making a statement is a president's right, isn't it? Is he upset because this president may be using these signing statements as a legal strategy? For they could lay the basis for a legal defense should the chief executive be accused of not enforcing part of a statute he believes unconstitutional.

The president's critics haven't been shy about making statements of their own. Consider the intemperate claims made by the ABA's president accusing Mr. Bush of undermining the rule of law, violating the Constitution, challenging the separation of powers, upsetting the checks and balances of the American system, and cheating at craps. (Okay, I made that last one up, but you get the general tone of the ABA's scattershot blast.)

Some of us are so old we can actually remember a time when the American Bar Association was a respected, nonpartisan professional organization with no political axes to grind. These days it seems to do little but.

So what course does the president of the American Bar Association recommend in response to the signing statements that this president (and his predecessors) have issued? Would he bar a president of the United States from making such statements?

Goodness. That sounds very much like a gag order. Are the president's arguments so strong that Sen. Specter and the leadership of the ABA can think of no better response than censorship? To paraphrase Ring Lardner: Shut up, they explain.

Any political remedy that involves preventing someone with an unwelcome opinion from expressing it sounds worse than the disease. Even if that someone is the president of the United States and he's signing a bill into law at the time.

If, instead of vetoing a disagreeable bill, a president chooses to sign it into law for reasons of his own, like agreeing with some of it, then why not let him express his reservations? And leave any disputes over interpretation to the courts. Isn't that what the rule of law is about?

Anyway, what more does Congress want? It already gets to write the law itself.

His critics certainly have a point when they say the president doesn't determine what the Constitution says, but neither does Congress or the ABA.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.